There are many lessons you learn throughout your career but I was fortunate to learn an important one in the most impactful and life changing way and you can to. I was a college student studying journalism and working my way through every odd job possible to find out exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. You name it, I did it. I was a weekend news anchor for a local radio station, a production assistant, a film extra etc. I then got offered the opportunity of a lifetime.
A close friend of my father was running for president of the Dominican Republic and it was about a month or so before the election. He asked if I wanted to join him on the campaign trail. I was obviously excited but most importantly curious to know what an election in another country was like. Up until this point, I had only witnessed life on a campaign trail via televised events. I probably said yes before he finished making the offer. I was also extremely grateful that I was bilingual as I couldn’t imagine not being able to understand what was being said at such a critical and important time for the country. A few weeks later, I was on a plane hoping to mentally document every part of the trip.
It was a four day trip that seemed to fly by with stops in numerous towns each day and events at just about any place a group of people could congregate in. It was one particular gathering in a small building at the center of a remote town that I first recognized the importance of connecting with people that are different from you. In this room a multitude of people had gathered to listen to someone from the campaign team speak. As I looked around, I saw so many different faces that denoted the huge gap in economic status in the country. However for the hour or so that this event was taking place, those differences didn’t matter. As the presenter spoke about the candidate’s causes and promises, every face in the room lit up and smiled with hope.
What impressed me was the ability of the speaker to connect with everyone in the room and provide each person with something to grasp on to despite the huge differences in their daily lives. What I soon came to understand is that all of us have something in common that can connect us. In this particular situation, it was a message of hope, positivity and the promise of something different. Every single person in that room probably had their own definition of what hope meant to them however they all found a way to connect.
This moment has replayed in my mind at least a hundred times since that event took place. The art of communication has always been a prominent presence in my life but this ability to connect with people so different than you taught me an invaluable lesson. We all have a common purpose that can be defined in different ways that is specific to each individual. The power of using that common purpose for achieving something is what creates success. So make an effort to connect with others who seem different by taking the time to send that invite and begin to learn about each other. You never know how fruitful that connection can be. By the way, that presidential candidate went on to win the election.
If you have a question or are interested in learning more, connect with me.